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Subsidies for jobs

Let’s be clear about what this is, shall we?

When Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst crisscrossed the state last year touting his program to provide state subsidies to anyone who would hire unemployed workers, Texas employers lined up.

To the state’s most powerful lawmaker, the rationale for wage subsidies was simple: The Texas economy would benefit and state government could save money if employers would hire Texans who were starting to receive unemployment benefits.

Put them to work rather than put them on the dole.

“We’re talking about creating jobs that will continue long term, not just for several months,” Dewhurst said at the time. “This is smart money.”

Over the past 15 months, more than 3,000 employers -— from conglomerates to mom-and-pop establishments — have answered the call. More than 12,000 people have been hired into jobs in call centers, restaurants, security firms, banks, warehouses and retail stores.

For every person hired into a $15-per-hour or less job, employers received $500 a month from the state for up to four months.

The Texas Back to Work program proved so popular that it spent its $16.3 million in state money in a matter of months and went on to spend an additional $5.1 million in federal funds. The U.S. Department of Labor also gave the program an award for being innovative.

Now after 15 months, Dewhurst has proposed that the Legislature allocate $15 million in state funds to extend the program. And that, in turn, raises questions about how effective the program has been at meeting its goals.

Has the program saved the state money? Has it created jobs? Or has the program used state money to fill jobs that would have been filled anyway?

This is what is commonly called an economic stimulus program. It’s when you spend government money for the purpose of enabling job creation. People tend to freak out when it’s done by a Democratic President, but when a Republican Lieutenant Governor does it, no one bats an eye. I’ll leave it to you to figure out why that is.

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One Comment

  1. Greg Wythe says:

    “People” and “no one” being synonymous with “Fox News”.

    And the people who parrot it.